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Published by: Dutton
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Series: Standalone Novels
Available now in paperback!
New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder returns with an explosive new thriller about a female judge and the one personal misstep that could lead to her–and her family’s–undoing.
It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and in a moment of weakness has an unforgettable night with him. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.
But back home in Boston, it becomes clear that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down. But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy.
In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are.
"Not only the main character but also the supporting cast and even the walk-on characters are wonderfully believable. Finder also peppers the narrative with astute observations on a range of professions and criminal activities. Another stunner from a master."
—Booklist, starred review
"Joseph Finder has masterfully blended the psychological and legal thrillers in JUDGMENT, a book that combines his penchant for nuanced plotting with the rapid-fire pacing his more recent titles have displayed....The book started out reminding me of the steamy postmodern film noir “Body Heat,” before approximating the best of John Grisham or Scott Turow. A stunning success in all respects."
"This is an exquisite game of cat and mouse. Finder is fully in his groove here. The guy never disappoints. JUDGMENT rocks."
"I finished Joseph Finder’s JUDGMENT after six hours of high-adrenaline reading. What a great premise: A judge’s one-night fling a thousand miles from home becomes the basis for an attempt to blackmail her in an important case. And that is merely the first surprise. JUDGMENT is smart, swift and well-informed. I loved it!"
Being a judge was a kind of performance art, Juliana had often reflected. Every word you said was being recorded, so you had to be absolutely fair and make sure to sound that way. You had to act and talk with dignity. You had to look and sound engaged.
You wore a costume: a black silk robe—actually 100 percent polyester and made by a company that provided caps and gowns to graduating seniors in high school and college. No one could see what you were wearing underneath the robe. On the other hand, at least in the American system (unlike judges in France or the U.K.) you didn’t have to wear a white wig. When she first started as a judge, she walked out into the courtroom without her robe a number of times, forgot to put it on. On some level she disdained the formalities. But eventually she decided there was a purpose to the robe. It showed respect for the legal process. That was important.
And you had to live your life with probity. Juliana never drove above the speed limit. She never broke the law. She was scrupulously honest about her taxes.
That requirement extended to her family as well. She couldn’t have a son arrested for marijuana possession, and at his age he could be arrested. Yes, he would resent it, and yes, he’d be oppositional, but tough luck. That was the reality. Judges’ kids had to be better behaved than other kids. That was the deal.
You also weren’t supposed to let your mind wander during a hearing, but it was happening this morning anyway. She found herself listening to the defense attorney in the medical malpractice case, trying to focus, when she realized: she had to recuse herself.